In Fall, 2010 Georgian government announced that it was planning to invite South African Boers to move their businesses to Georgia.
There are approximately 40,000 Boers, mainly of Dutch decent living in South Africa who fear that the local government will oppress them by implementing new agricultural policies. Georgia, on the other hand, has huge agricultural resources that need to be used. Georgian government thinks that it would be a great opportunity if Boers would move to Caucasus and bring their knowledge of modern farming.
Papuna Davitaia, Georgia’s State Minister for Diaspora, represents Georgian side in negotiations. Here’s what he has told to The Independent in November, 2010
“We are looking for investors in our agricultural sphere, because Georgia historically always used to be an agricultural country but in Soviet times we lost these traditions.”
Tbilisi’s invitation was followed by a visit of Boers. In November, 2010 15-member delegation visited Georgia. They were fascinated by the fertility of Georgian land, by it’s progress and ease of doing business.
Here are some video stories prepared by ABN Digital
In the end of January, 2011, Georgian government created a website called South African Farmers in Georgia. It gives an opportunity to SA farmers to fill in an application for Georgian citizenship in online mode. Applicant should download a 6-page long word document and answer 36 questions like “Do you plan to move assets to Georgia?”, “Your/your farms yearly turnover is”, “Are you planning to start entrepreneurial activities in Georgia” and etc. The website also features background information about Georgia, including it’s climate, taxes and security. Maps of Georgia are also available and all interested can send their questions to the project manager Juba Maruashvili. The website also gives an opportunity to get in touch with Bennie Van Zyl, who is one of the first South African farmers who have moved to Georgia.
According to the Voice of America’s Georgian service, Georgian government has offered 80,000 hectares of land to SA Farmers. [GE] A group of Boers arrived in Georgia on January 24, 2011 to hold meetings with government and discuss further plans. In February two more visits are planned.
Several South African publications wrote that hundreds of farmers are interested in relocating and buying land in Georgia.